Box Score Bank: Wakefield's Best

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Box Score Bank: Wakefield's Best

It's Tim Wakefield Day at Fenway Park, and what better way to pay respects to the old knuckle baller than by posting a random box score on a barely-existent blog.

With that, let's set the Box Score Bank for . . .

June 4, 1995

Bill Clinton was in his third year as President. The Motaba virus was running rampant through American movie theaters. "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?" by Canadian prime minister Bryan Adams was No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Jose Iglesias was five years old.

And over at Fenway Park, 28-year-old Tim Wakefield was spinning a 10-inning complete game masterpiece.

Final Score: Red Sox 2, Mariners 1

Seriously, though: 10 innings.

In all, Wake in the third start of his Red Sox career threw 135 pitches and gave up only six hits, one run (unearned) and one walk, while striking out five to earn the win. But as you can imagine, it wasn't easy.

Seattle's one run came in the top of the 10th inning, when Mike Blowers led off with a single, and moved to second on a bunt by future Red Sox legend Darren Bragg. Wake hit the next batter (Dan Wilson) to put runners on first and second. Next up, was Felix Fermin who grounded back to the mound . . . but Wakefield threw the ball away! Blowers scored on the error (so while the run was unearned, it was still Wake's fault) to put the Mariners up 1-0, and that was the score as they headed into the bottom of the 10th.

There, Bobby Ayala took over for the M's, struck out Wes Chamberlain, gave up a pinch-hit single to Bil Haselman and then . . .

Troy O'Leary followed with a two-run walk off homer to give Wakefield the legendary complete game victory.

It was the second and final 10-inning performance of Wake's career, along with April 27, 1993, when he threw 172 pitches in the Pirates 6-2 win.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

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Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?